By Mike Sutter
In August, fans of the Mets and Yankees had long considered their teams’ seasons over. This season was never meant to be meaningful for the Yankees, who were expecting to rebuild. On the other hand, the Mets had lofty expectations following their appearance in the 2015 World Series.
The first half of the Yankees’ season saw them go 44-44 with a nightmare 8-15 record in April. The Mets ended the first half at 47-41, sinking as low as 60-62 on August 19.
At the time of writing, the Yankees now sit at 77-72, and their season is effectively over after a crushing sweep by the Boston Red Sox. This season saw the retirement of third baseman Alex Rodriguez, a short fling with closer Aroldis Chapman, the trade of reliever Andrew Miller and the departure of outfielder Carlos Beltran.
These trades allowed for young minor leaguers to be promoted to the major league team. Rookie sensation Gary Sanchez has made the most of his opportunity in the majors, hitting .327 with an OBP of .393, 16 HR and 30 RBI. Other notable rookies include Ronald Torreyes (hitting .268 in 123 ABs) and Tyler Austin (3 home runs in 68 ABs).
Currently the Mets are 80-70 and hold a one game lead for the first wild card spot. The Mets’ moves stem primarily from injuries. Pitchers Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Jon Niese, as well as third baseman David Wright and second baseman Neil Walker, all suffered season-ending injuries. Other players such as outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and catcher Travis d’Arnaud have had shorter stints on the disabled list as well.
Former third baseman and fan favorite Jose Reyes was signed following his release from the Colorado Rockies. The team traded for outfielder Jay Bruce, a move that has not worked out as Bruce has batted .180 in 39 games with the Mets.
The most notable of the Mets’ moves are the call-ups of starting pitchers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Lugo has a 4-2 record with an ERA of 2.35 and a WHIP of 1.043 in his six starts. Gsellman is 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.405 WHIP in five starts.
As the Yankees’ playoff hopes seemingly crumble, criticisms of longtime manager Joe Girardi reach a fever pitch despite the fact that this team was never expected to be competitive. Likewise, Mets manager Terry Collins has been praised for his ability to keep his team playing hard and having fun despite failing to meet the high expectations set by last season.